It is usually rain, the bane of many a fallen title bid, that provokes Lancastrian cursing at this time of year. On this occasion, it was a brief sunny interlude, requiring them to return to the field when it looked as if bad light had brought the day to an early end and costing them three wickets for their trouble.
The break in the clouds had closed again within barely 10 minutes but it was time enough to Lancashire, who had appeared so well set at 291-3, to stumble to 300-6, giving Nottinghamshire cause to believe that what had felt like a bad day in their push for the County Championship might serve them well after all.
It means that Lancashire, who won the toss and chose to take advantage of a short boundary on the Bridgford Road side, will be hard pressed to top 400 in a season in which they have notched maximum batting points only once. They have an outside chance of making the title run-in a four-horse race but really need to beat the leaders here.
For Nottinghamshire, taking three wickets in eight balls during the four-over extension, the last two of which put Andre Adams on a hat-trick when he next bowls, revives their prospects in a match in which they have no overseas player.
David Hussey has returned to his state side, Victoria, in readiness for the Champions League and his replacement, his fellow Australian Adam Voges, could not obtain a visa in time to take on Lancashire, although he will be able to play in their final three fixtures. The last time Nottinghamshire did not field an overseas player, after Hashim Amla's stint had ended and before Hussey's began, they lost at home to Hampshire and were spared a defeat against Essex largely by rain.
As if to emphasise the handicap, Lancashire were led to their erstwhile position of strength largely through the steadfastness of their overseas player, Shivnarine Chanderpaul. A third hundred in five matches for Lancashire this season looked his for the taking until, on a day in which swing had rarely been a factor, Ryan Sidebottom at last made one curve in to have him leg before for 92.
Chanderpaul and Mark Chilton put on 151 in 50 overs for the third wicket, at which point the home side were reflecting on a generally poor day for their bowlers, in which only Adams was at his best.
But, after the false finish, Adams took a fine catch at third slip to give Sidebottom Steven Croft's wicket, then trapped nightwatchman Gary Keedy leg before and had Gareth Cross caught at first slip.Reuse content